For the record: 'Appetite for Destruction' by Guns N' Roses

A look at the band's groundbreaking freshman record

Each week reporter Shane Weinstein drops the needle and reviews different vinyl records from used record bins.

I’ve never been a huge Guns N’ Roses fan, but I’ve always liked some of the band's hits, especially “Welcome to the Jungle” (because who doesn’t like that song?). When I heard that the band was getting back together to play Coachella, I knew it was going to be a monumental moment in music and decided it would be a good time to take an extended look at the group's music. Fortunately, when I walked into Zia Records last week they had a single copy of the band’s hit freshman record “Appetite for Destruction” sitting on the shelf, so I decided to use it as a launching point for my journey into the band’s music.

Flow: 4/5

Overall, the record flows fairly well. All of the songs have certain energies that play well off of each other and make the record an enjoyable listen. Unfortunately, due to the band’s signature sound that features Slash’s always impressive guitar riffs and lead singer Axl Rose’s high-pitched voice, most of the songs begin to sound the same after a while. Although that is to be at least expected in some capacity by any band, here the songs meld to what feels like one incredibly long and never-ending track. I feel it would be near impossible for those who can’t stand Rose’s voice to sit through the record as a whole.

Top Cuts: 4/5

Not surprisingly, the three top cuts from this record are its three biggest hits.

The A-side kicks off with the band’s quintessential song “Welcome to the Jungle,” a track that I had high hopes for ahead of my first listening to it on vinyl. Needless to say, it lived up to my expectations and even surpassed them. The echoing guitar that opens the track sounded absolutely fantastic, and it’s easy to see how the song became such a big hit when listening to it in its original medium.

The same can be said for the record’s other two massive hits “Paradise City” and “Sweet Child O' Mine.” Slash’s guitar really shines on both tracks and bassist Duff McKagan’s underrated work is especially noticeable.

After hearing these tracks on vinyl for the first time, it’s not surprising that they were so successful at the time of their initial release.

Most Underwhelming: 2.5/5

Although the album does feature its fair share of songs that aren’t especially great or unbearably awful, there are two cuts in particular that I just felt fell completely flat. “Out Ta Get Me,” which is on the record’s A-side, just feels like an incredibly generic Guns N’ Roses song, almost like something a parody band would release to mimic the band’s style. Rose’s vocals get just a bit too grating and the song feels like it has no end.

This goes for the B-side’s “You’re Crazy” as well. While the song’s opening riff would indicate that the song has potential, again Rose’s voice just strikes a nerve and makes it an incredibly difficult track to sit through.

Most Underrated: 4/5

One track immediately comes to mind for this category: “Nightrain.”

I’m not sure exactly what about this track I like so much, but upon my first listen to the record it was the one song I immediately wanted to go back and listen to again. The song gives off a “ready for anything” kind of vibe and its catchy chorus and guitar solos made it, for me, easily the most enjoyable track to listen to on the record.

Overall: 3/5

After listening to the album, I think it’s easy to see why exactly I never became a huge Guns N’ Roses fan. While the band's music is not bad by any means, Rose’s perfect-for-hair-metal voice just seemed to get on my nerves by the time the album was through. For me, Guns N’ Roses is a band that I can only listen to in small doses and so for the first time, I think find myself preferring the digital copy of an album over a hard copy. At least then I can listen to “Welcome to the Jungle” and “Nightrain” whenever I want to instead of having to sit through countless other tracks that eventually all sound the same. 

Related Links:

For the record: "Any Way You Like it" by Thelma Houston

For the record: 'American Idiot' by Green Day


Reach the reporter at seweinst@asu.edu or follow @S_Weinstein95 on Twitter.

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